Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.


Love It to Death

"I thought Alice Cooper was in a band," I told my editor when I got this album. "Alice Cooper is a band," I was informed. "But then he was also just Alice Cooper. It's complicated." Dang it. So I had to do some research. Alice Cooper, the band that put out this record, formed in the late 1960s. The lead singer was Vincent Furnier, who's the raccoon-faced circus man I know as Alice Cooper (he eventually adopted the band's name for his solo act). Our own David Schmader called the current version of Cooper, in a recent write-up, "essentially a male Elvira," and that's how I know him. But I'd assumed he had some old-school chops or he wouldn't still be storming around dripping eyeliner everywhere.

Love It to Death is balls-out GREAT. You should go get a copy immediately, lock yourself in a room with a six-pack of cheap beer, and marinate in it (the music, not the beer, dope). Although, truthfully, the best time to discover this record is probably somewhere between the ages of 15 and 20. The dirty-bordering-on-cheesy ennui and turmoil is so Platonically adolescent, it should win some kind of award. The big hit on this album was "I'm Eighteen," which has lyrics like "I'm 18/I just don't know what I want... I'm 18/I get confused every day/I'm 18/I just don't know what to say... I'm 18 and I like it." (I kind of want to hear Cooper/Furnier's update to this song, "I'm Sixty-Four," which is how old he is now, but I think it'd probably be the same. "I'm 64/I get confused every day..." See?)

"Is It My Body" is also a winner. "What have I got/That makes you want to love me?/Now is it my body/Or someone I might be/Or somethin' inside me?" Awwwww! You'll never know, buddy. Sometimes they just want your body. He wants you to love the real him! The man behind the eyeliner!

I hadn't realized how old this was, but Love came out in 1971, and it sounds so much cleaner than I expected. I thought it would be yowlier. But the music is young and hot and interesting rock and roll, if a little whiny, and it gets me in a superb bus groove. (It makes me scowl a bit, but that's just smart bus-riding behavior.)

Downside: "Ballad of Dwight Fry." Ick. First, it made me turn around because I thought someone was standing behind me. But it's someone saying in a creepy dumb fake-child voice, "Mommy? Where's Daddy?" Then it tells a weird and stupid story about being stuck in a mental institution. I'm just gonna say it: I really fucking hate most story-songs. They're always so much dumber than the songs that surround them.

I give Love It to Death a "perfect for bus scowling" out of 10. recommended